It’s finally official: Russell Westbrook is staying in Oklahoma City.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Westbrook has agreed to a five-year, $205 million extension to remain with the Thunder. The deal becomes the largest contract in NBA history when factoring in his 2017-18 salary — a grand total of $233 million. The reigning MVP and two-time scoring champion has committed his long term future to Oklahoma City with the move, as the agreement is set to run through the 2022-23 season.
Fresh off a 2016-17 campaign that saw Westbrook record an NBA-record 42 triple-doubles — while averaging a triple-double in the process — the Thunder’s fiery floor general was asked to decide on his future for the second consecutive summer. He signed a three-year contract extension on August 4th of 2016, but due to a player option at the end of next season, it was no secret that GM Sam Presti would return with another opportunity to sign on the dotted line.
In the days since Oklahoma City was eliminated from last season’s playoffs, the Thunder roster has been completely revitalized. In adding Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to the fold, the team is suddenly considered perhaps the biggest threat to Golden State’s dynasty — a belief that certainly played a role in Westbrook’s decision to re-up for the long haul. It’s long been believed this day would come ahead of the October 16 deadline, but the fan base has let out a collective sigh of relief with the official announcement — an announcement that happens to fall on Kevin Durant’s 29th birthday.
With new running mates in George and Anthony, the focus now shifts toward locking in this new-look “Big Three.” If Presti can secure his core for the foreseeable future, the monster summer of 2017 will only grow larger.
Much, much more to come.